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Old 08-14-2017, 05:32 PM   #1
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Default The next step up from garageband


I'm currently using free garage band on my ipad and in my opinion it is very powerful and lets me have a bunch of fun recording bass, guitar, and piano. The drums seem a little weak and I don't have much flexibility with that.

Anyway, I wanted to see what the next step up is? Is laptop based recording software much more powerful?

Alternatively, if you like a low budget (maybe under $1000?) recording setup and you want to just give me a link or a picture of what you have that is on the basic side, I'd love to see it.

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Old 08-15-2017, 01:17 PM   #2
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Laptop / desktop software is in my opinion, leaps and bounds over mobile stuff.
I dont have a picture of my setup, but heres a parts list.

My basic system is:
2012 Mac Mini, i5 dual core 2.5 ghz, 16GB RAM
26" Acer monitor
Focusrite Scarlett solo USB interface
Amplitube 4 & Eleven Lite plug ins for guitar
Pro Tools | First (Avids free version of PT)
2.1 Creative Labs speakers

My "PRO" system is:
2016 iMac 27" quad core i5, 3.2 ghz, 32GB RAM
Avid Eleven Rack, Pro Tools 12
Mackie monitors

Obviously, there's a lot of difference between the two.
But in truth, the Mac Mini system is great for most tasks. It only really bogs down when I am editing a large HD video.
The Mini system with all components, including monitor, keyboard, mouse etc., was less than $1K.
The iMac system was a fair bit more, but as you would imagine, is capable of more.

As far as recording software, Logic Pro X is Garagebands big brother.
It looks similar, workflow is similar, yet LPX is far more powerful.
Coming from GB, your learning curve for LPX will be minimal.
One thing to consider is its Mac only. If you ever change to a PC, LPX / GB aren't available.

Hope this helps, at least a little.
If you have any questions, please dont hesitate to ask.
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Old 08-15-2017, 03:53 PM   #3
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I hate laptops myself, always had desktops.

Also Windows.

The center of your recording studio is the audio interface.

You want to have enough inputs and outputs to accommodate all your gear.

If you don't have any outboard gear then you can get an interface with 2 or 4 inputs/outputs.

You need a quality interface to get low latency, higher performance etc.

After that then it's just picking a DAW you like, lots of options.

My favorite is Studio One:

You can get a lite version of DAW software to start out with, they give it to you for free when you buy some interfaces, have to shop for that in the interfaces.
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Old 08-15-2017, 05:59 PM   #4
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I use Magix Music Maker as my DAW. Cheap and it has all you need.

Lots of friends like Reaper a lot and said the trial version is fully useable.

Yes, you will need an interface. My Boss GT-1 is an mfx but is also an interface and it is great! I have a Behringer UMC204hd and is also good and affordable!
Boss GT-1 (demo), Digitech Drop, Zoom G1On, TC Ditto X4, Peavey Bandit 112 (red stripe US),
littlebadboy (personal projects) Carol Affection (90's band)
Please like my videos
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Old 08-15-2017, 07:29 PM   #5
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Awesome responses! Thanks. I've been busy googling all this stuff.

Ok so I'm leaning towards a Mac air laptop with Logic Pro X. Saw some YouTube videos and it indeed looks like GarageBand on steroids. I think I can dive right into that.

My question is with the interface. Right now I've been content with my guitar into an iRig. From looking at the interface that looks like something similar to irig but also allows a mic to be used.

An iRig could still connect me to a laptop for Logic Pro X right? Thoughts on that or is it a cheap signal issue?

Don't get me wrong, a fancy mic in front of my mesa boogie half stack would be ideal but the rest of the family prefers me going direct into a computer with headphones. ��
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Old 08-16-2017, 07:46 AM   #6
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I use a 2015 Dell computer with all the bells and whistles and WINDOWS 10. I interface with the computer straight into and out of the Stereo Audio IN and Stereo Audio OUT jacks. My Stereo Output from the computer goes to the Stereo Input of a JVC 80 watt stereo and out to more 15", 10", 5", and horn tweeters than you can imagine anyone would ever want to use. I record using Cakewalk (SONAR 5). It does more stuff than I can figure out how to use. With that said, I've recorded 5 or 6 complete albums by layering tracks and mixing them down to Left and Right Stereo. The last 3 albums sounded really good but I was on a learning curve with the first ones and I learned that even with the best Software, you can really make things suck. You don't need the worlds best software, you need to learn how to squeeze the best out of what you have. Pretty much like making a mediocre instrument sound good. I have a friend who is a Berklee graduate and has worked his whole life in recording studios. He wrote a song for me and recorded it on something he downloaded for free off the internet and when I got it, so I could add my Rhythm and Lead tracks, it sounded so good that I was afraid to use my Gazillion dollar software because I was afraid I'd mess it up. Fortunately I was successful. Don't discount what you are told here on the forum, but also seek out people who are seasoned veterans of the recording business and they will show you how to do things you never even dreamed of. I'll give you two examples of advice I was given early on in my recording attempts. 1: If you use reverb on a recording, you must use less than you think is correct because the playback is going to sound like it was wide open. 2: Don't be afraid to use compression but don't go overboard because If you can hear the compression, you used too much.
You can hear the tune my friend wrote for me on Its title is "OK PK".

I looked it up and my friend used Audacity.

Last edited by PKVeazey; 08-16-2017 at 11:29 AM. Reason: Additional information
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Old 08-16-2017, 11:06 AM   #7
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Thanks. Good tip.

Well I'm just taking the plunge. Doing a MacBook with a focusrite scarlett solo and I'll grab LPX.

Read a lot this AM and I think it will be straightforward. Thanks.

Last edited by LesPool; 08-16-2017 at 03:30 PM.
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Old 09-14-2017, 02:02 PM   #8
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I like the recordings that I made at home using Audacity better than the recordings we made at a studio that used Pro Tools and fancy microphones and amps. What I'm saying is listen to the sound. DAW software varies and some programs are better suited for some things than others. Work with the software that gives you the sound that you like.
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